Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) remains the most effective treatment for a wide-range of menopausal symptoms, from hot flashes to vaginal dryness. The physicians of Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, PC, with locations in Memphis, Germantown, and Bartlett, Tennessee, as well as Southaven, Mississippi, assess each woman unique experience and when appropriate prescribe HRT. Call the office or request an appointment online today.
Known also as hormone therapy or hormone replacement, HRT seems to be a logical response to the chemical changes in a woman’s body after menopause. With the job of childbirth in the past, the ovaries reduce the amount of estrogen they produce. Since this hormone is defining in its role as the key female sex hormone, losing estrogen means that many changes will result.
Though menopause affects every woman differently, hot flashes and night sweats may be one of the most common complaints. HRT remains the most effective treatment for these temperature regulation issues, far outstripping other alternatives that work for some women, but less for others.
At one time, HRT was prescribed quite freely for any menopause-related issue. However, large clinical studies that connected HRT to breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke have tightened up how the therapy is prescribed, to reduce the risks of these associated effects.
First, not all types of HRT are the same, and some carry more risk than others. Second, there’s not a standard dose for each type of HRT. The best dose for you is the smallest amount that provides relief from the side effects you experience. HRT use and dosages are monitored much more closely than in the past to make sure that you’re not taking higher levels of hormone supplements than you need.
Every medical treatment requires a balance of risk, and this is something you should discuss with your MOGA physician. Your tolerance of the symptoms you experience may be key to how to proceed with HRT. Relief from hot flashes, for example, may be worth the statistical risk of complications. HRT may also relieve menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, which may interfere with your sex life, and osteoporosis, which could cause later physical problems.
There is also a modified form of HRT, called bioidentical hormone therapy, or BHRT, that may have less risk of side effects.
Though research is in early stages and not yet statistically shown to have different outcomes, bioidentical hormone therapies seek to use versions of hormones that match naturally produced hormones at the molecular level. Since your body’s receptors seek a specific molecular structure with which to bond, providing supplemental hormones that are chemically identical to their natural counterparts may be better tolerated by the body.